I don’t believe in ghosts.
When I was nine years old I used to hang around with a friend of mine who was the same age. We’d play tennis and roller-skate in the streets and go off on our bikes.
One of the places we’d go to was a big old deserted manor house. It was massive. The front door was open and we’d just go in. We knew we were not allowed but that was part of the fun. We’d run about on the old wooden floors and skid around. We’d play hide-and-seek. It was very echoey in that big old empty place. Our voices and laughter boomed around and we’d thunder around the place. You could always tell where someone was hiding because all the floorboards creaked.
It was exciting.
It must have been very grand in its day. I remember the downstairs had huge rooms with high ceiling. When you went in through the front door there was a massive staircase that swept round like something out of ‘Gone with the Wind’.
We’d go upstairs where there was a long corridor with lots of rooms coming off it. The rooms all had big cupboards to hide in and wooden shutters on the windows.
One day we were upstairs in the far room. We heard the front door open. We looked at each other with more than a little bit of fear. Somebody had probably heard us and we were for it. We crept to the cupboard and stood inside, pulling the door shut behind us.
We heard footsteps going around downstairs, and then they came up the stairs. We stood as still as we could and tried not to breathe. It was dark in the cupboard and we were straining our ears.
We heard the footsteps coming clumping down the corridor. They sounded loud and heavy like it was an adult. All the boards creaked. They stopped at the doorway to our room.
We held our breath. We could imagine this big man standing there in the doorway listening intently for the slightest sound to find where we were. Our hearts were racing so fast and loud that we were both sure that he would hear us. Our breath was ragged and loud. The tension was unbearable.
There was no sound from out there. Whoever it was standing there in the doorway they were as still as a statue. Not a board creaked.
At last we could stand it no longer we opened the cupboard and stepped out to give ourselves up.
There was no one there.
We rushed out, through the corridor, down the stairs, out the door and through the grounds to grab our bikes and pedaled away as fast as we could.
We never went back.
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